The Rattlers – with Riot Act, Mystery Jones, Little Sister at The Skybox – Review

The Rattlers

WAAF Battle of the Bands Finals with Riot Act, Mystery Jones, Little Sister at The Skybox 
by Fruitpie (don’t bother me) (aka Scott Hefflon)

Riot Act – First? Fine, O.K., I can live with it. We did a two-page spread on Riot Act in the first issue before most people had even heard of ’em. Were we wrong in foreseeing the future? It appears not. They played to a somewhat receptive crowd, but the Bud’s had barely started juicing up the masses. It wasn’t as intense as the semi’s, which is a shame ’cause this is where the shit counts. Oh well. Maybe the crowd just wasn’t trashed enough to enjoy it. Who knows? (Look for a cool shot of Riot Act elsewhere in this issue.)

After a fun little t-shirt giveaway conducted by WAAF’s Carmelita, the Bay State Rock Babe, we returned to our regularly scheduled program.

The Rattlers took the stage. They were tight. (When they weren’t standing around with the PA playing, for some odd reason, “I’m no Angel.”) After a few technical difficulties, they poured out the energy and were fun to groove to. A lot of stomp-around punk/pop covers, and even a Pearl Jam highlight o’ the night. (It’s bad enough we stoop to regurgitating AC/DC and Zeppelin, now we’re to be subjected to Pearl Jam and Stone Temple cover bands? Wow, things are getting bad. I need a drink.) One refreshing observation; they actually smiled. They enjoyed jammin’ for their friends. They brought quite a bunch of the local party buds in. “I will play all night!” ranted the singer. Ironically, it was their last song. (Watch for more on these guys in next issue.)

After more Southern Rock and Meatloaf tunes on the PA (God, who is the D.J. tonight?), next up was Mystery Jones.

Launching into an all-out harmonious funk/party jam, they set the pace to keep the most adrenaline pumped pogo pet breathless. Almost kinda Fates Warning meets Pantera, if you know what I’m not saying. Ominous repetitions and screaming feedback segued into a Chili/Fishbone crash course in trading geek raps. Their mandatory slow tune had the longing of high school innocence raped by the grind. The change of pace lost none of their power, it merely exposed its slow shred, rather than the speed bag assault. Then the Pogo Boys returned to the surface and they bopped and skipped through the rest of the set. (Time Travel – They won the Finals and we woulda done an in-depth {yeah, right!} interview, but someone bagged my tape. Stay tuned!)

After more t-shirt give-aways to the person(s) with the most tattoos, the most earrings, and some brave soul who wasn’t ashamed to prove they weren’t wearing underwear came…

Little Sister. No shit, babes with balls. Female singers who would make Lita Ford and the ilk reconsider vocal lessons. Enough exploitation of the woman-thing (they’re charismatic and hot, man!), they rock, they’ve got a keyboard player, which is usually a Top 40 cash-in-cop-out, but these guys (ahem, gals) make Heart sound like it’s time for a bypass. The guitar chugs and screams like a locomotive and the rhythm is about as solid as you can get. It’s hard to find “chicks” who can swagger/strut/stomp/and belt it out like (or, gasp!, better) than their posturing, bravado-inflated male counterparts. They’re way-heavy when they wanna be, and touchingly sentimental when doing the token ballad that MTV lighter-waving thing dorks seem to eat up. The two or three (It was kinda hard to tell; I was pretty trashed by this point and was kept busy by all the drool-wiping) vocalists were definitely the highlight, and the four guys on the instruments were a sparkle-flecked backdrop upon which the Sisters projected. (The Sisters have got big plans! Check out elsewhere in this issue as well as updates in the next.)

They never did bother to tell us who won. It doesn’t really matter to me. Actually, all the bands were good, in their own way. It ain’t really my place to pass judgement. Just to observe and drink for free. Hee-hee.